Georgia has more counties in persistent poverty than any other state in the country. 1 of every 3 children in rural areas grows up in poverty, where accessing quality care is often already a challenge.
The Global Partnership for Telehealth, based in Blackshear, Georgia, saw an opportunity to address this gap in health care and bring crucial services to students through telehealth. Here’s how it works:
- The Partnership works with schools to identify health care needs, including primary care, behavioral health services, and special needs like pediatric neurology.
- Then, the Partnership connects the appropriate doctors with students via video conferencing.
- Medicaid reimburses the health care provider and pays the school a facility fee for the use of their space and equipment, ensuring that partner facilities are supported and incentivized to continue using the telehealth program to benefit students.
The program has seen significant proven success, including a decrease in emergency room visits. And enabling parents to access convenient, affordable health care for their kids means one less thing a family living in poverty has to worry about. Ginny Herring, a School Nurse at Cook Primary School in Adel, Georgia, attests to the positive impact that telehealth has had on her students, “Telehealth has been a great opportunity… to keep them in school, healthy and happy!”
As local providers become more familiar with telehealth services, the more likely they are to support it. It’s convenient for patients and can significantly cut down travel time for specialists. According to Sherrie Williams, the Partnership’s Chief Operating Officer, their #1 priority is helping to build the relationships between families and primary care providers. Today, the Partnership proudly works with more than 140 schools in 4 states and health care providers in more than 30 specialties.